Raising your children is a constant juggling act. You want them to be happy, to enjoy their lives and of course to look at you like you’re the best mother that’s ever walked the earth. But you also need to think about their health and be the bad guy from time to time. No one else will, and that beautiful little creature left alone to make his own choices would probably become a dirty socks wearing sugar junkie. And oral hygiene probably tops the list of things your children couldn’t care less about. Whether your child still has his baby teeth, is facing braces or is going in for wisdom teeth removal, you must help them learn to take care of their teeth. After all, they are irreplaceable. Here are just some of children’s bad habits that can impair oral hygiene.
Babies love their bottle, and for toddlers it can become something of a crutch. But as much as they plead and scream you should not let your child take a bottle to bed unless it is only filled with water. Although sucking on it all night won’t be great for their jaw, the main problem is if they spend the night sipping on sugary drinks. Even 100% fruit juice can cause tooth decay, with those sugars hanging out in their mouth all night. If you want to avoid World War III, try weaning them off of it by slowly diluting their juice each night until you can get away with water alone.
Another issue that plagues many children both at night and during the day is thumb sucking. More than three quarters of all toddlers and infants suck on their fingers or thumbs, generally until around the age of four. It is a natural way to combat teething pain, but if you allow it to go unchecked, it can cause a myriad of issues. Teeth can come in pointed in the wrong direction, meaning painful and expensive years with braces further down the line. Try to break them of this habit as soon as you can.
If your kids hate the nightly toothbrush ritual and do anything they can to get out of it, you must make sure that they don’t skimp on this important chore. Your kids must learn to brush two times a day, and for two or three minutes at a time. Most kids will lose interest far sooner, so you have to come up with ways to get them sticking with it. One great idea is to have them brush to a song. If they can keep brushing until the song is over, they win the game. If this doesn’t work, pick up disclosing tablets at your local pharmacy. Once chewed they leave red marks on any remaining plaque in your child’s mouth. As disgusting as that sounds, it might actually get your kids excited about brushing again.
On the other end of the spectrum are the kids that love brushing their teeth. For those odd creatures, toothpaste is like some rare delicacy. They slather their toothbrush, yet only a bit of froth gets spit into the sink in the end. It is certainly a good thing that your kids want to brush up, even if it is due to tasty toothpaste. But swallowing too much of that paste is a very bad thing. Fluorosis can develop, and left unchecked for too long it can lead to white or brown spots on your child’s teeth. Have your Bellevue dentist go over brushing with your child until they understand why they only need to use a small dab of toothpaste.